Day Care – A Dangerous Experiment in Child-Rearing?

Wall Street Journal Europe
Wednesday 14 January 1998

“Social science confirms that children raised in day-care centers and similar institutions are often emotionally maladjusted and mentally impaired.”


Many young families today depend on day care. Single fathers may rely on it even more than single mothers do. But is it good for our children? In this article by Andrew P. Thomas, The Wall Street Journal takes a critical look at the effects of day care on young children. He warns against “the growing practice of abandoning infants to paid strangers.”

Even as long as twenty years ago, the early studies of day care were not encouraging:

A 1974 study in the journal Developmental Psychology reported that children who entered day care before their first birthday were “significantly more aggressive” and more physically and verbally abusive of adults than other children.

Several more recent studies are quoted which show that children “…who had spent more time in day care suffered proportionately greater ill effects, regardless of the quality of the care;” the most extreme case being the kibbutz-raised children of Israel:

In 1995, the National Institute of Mental Health published a joint US-Israeli study that found children raised in Israeli communes known as kibbutzim, who received 24-hour day care, were at significantly greater risk of developing schizophrenia and other serious mental disorders.

Criticizing American parents for “warehousing infants so that they might accumulate ever-nicer possessions,” the article calls on the US Congress to “reject Mr. Clinton’s ill-considered plan to subsidize day care.”